Regulating Violence

-By Gary R. Evens

Once again liberal groups are proposing legislation to severely restrict handguns and the rights of gun owners. They cite rising violence within cities as the main reason for doing this. Their solutions range from placing micro serial numbers on the firing pins of guns that will be imprinted on shell casings whenever a round of ammunition is fired, to placing unique identification numbers on bullets and their associated cartridge case so again you can tell which bullet was fired from which case. Any transfer of a gun from one individual to another or the purchase of ammunition would have to be recorded with the government, to include providing fingerprints of the individuals involved in the transactions transferring firearms from one person to another. Thus they hope to be able to trace every bullet that is fired and/or every cartridge casing that is recovered at a crime scene back to the gun that it was fired from and the individual that owns that gun. Once again they are ignoring the fact that criminals, by definition, will not follow the laws and thus will obtain the guns they feel they need on the “black market” or through outright theft of them from legitimate owners.

These proposals would be tremendously expensive to implement—something the liberal supporters of the proposals do not object too, indeed they hope the handgun market would simply dry up because no one could afford to own or shoot them anymore. Some of the more extreme proposals also suggest that all existing stockpiles of ammunition that do not have unique identification numbers on them should be destroyed—at the owner’s expense of course. I wouldn’t be surprised if they also propose replacing all existing firing pins with new ones with the micro serial numbers engraved on them—again at the owner’s expense.

When are these extreme liberals going to realize that it is not the gun that is the problem or even the widespread availability of guns? Rather it is the attitudes of people that it is alright to use violence to solve their individual problems that must be changed!

Over the course of the last 30 or 40 years, liberal ideas have resulted in an ever increasing disrespect for law, order, and authority. Indeed these anti-authority attributes are considered to be praiseworthy by many liberals, especially those that were part of the anti-Vietnam War movement! And this is the very root cause of the problem we have with violence in society today.

Liberals are treating every group—except those that they consider to be rich, affluent, and conservative—to be persecuted. They say the poor, especially poor blacks or Hispanics, shouldn’t be blamed for using violence because it is their state of poverty and lack of opportunity that have driven them to this. Bologna! It is a lack of respect and obedience of the law that has caused this situation and that has nothing to do with their economic state.
I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s in an admittedly rural area in the Midwest. Gun violence wasn’t a concern while I was going to school. Indeed when I was in high school, many students and teachers brought shotguns with them to school and kept them in their cars and trucks in the parking lot so they could go hunting right after school got out for the day. Hunter safety courses were even taught at the schools.

It wasn’t a problem because people understood the consequences that would result from breaking the rules and that any problems they might have wouldn’t be solved by resorting to the use of violence. Teachers and parents had the ability to administer discipline—i.e. corporal punishment when called for—and that was a societal expectation in those days. Children were expected to be well behaved, especially when they were in public, and a little spanking now and then might be needed to reinforce that message. But then along came the liberal sociologists and psychologists that told us using corporal punishment was too traumatic on children and over the next several years they managed to convince lawmakers to enact laws banning such methods. It got so bad that in the 1980’s and 1990’s children in California would call the police if their parents even threatened to spank them. And, the police would respond. Suddenly parents had lost their ability to impose discipline—and thus their authority over their children and the children ran amuck! The same thing happened to teachers in schools and again the children ran amuck!!

While I grew up in those days when corporal punishment was allowed, and occasionally practiced, I certainly wasn’t traumatized by the experience and neither was anyone else that I knew. I did however learn to have a healthy respect for authority and for obeying the rules. And, I had learned this by the time I finished the 3rd or 4th Grade. These are traits that seem to be lost on large segments of the younger and older generations today.

Indeed, liberals seem to encourage the disregard for authority and the rule of law through the policies they support. I don’t see them changing their outlook anytime soon either. They will continue to snip around the edges of the problem with “solutions” like restricting gun ownership instead of tackling the root cause of the problem because if they do so they will have to repudiate the very social policies that they have been encouraging for the last several decades.

A second reason liberal are afraid of public gun ownership is their basic belief that government is the solution to all problems and an armed public could overthrow that government. It happened in 1776 and the liberals are afraid it might happen again. But, our founding fathers recognized the necessity of having an armed public to offset the abuses of government. Indeed that is why the 2nd Amendment was included in the US Constitution. It not only gives the individual a right to protect themselves, but it is designed to give the collective public the right to protect themselves from a government that may become abusive, and not just abusive to the rights of the majority, but also the sizeable minority as well. Indeed it is this potential threat that forces our government to moderate otherwise extreme policies. And, it is often liberals that are proponents for those very extreme policies.
So, let’s face facts. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Thus the solution is to change the attitudes and behavior of people. If we don’t and we do take all the guns away, they’ll just find some other instrument to use to do violence to their fellow man.

Gary Evens is a Veteran with over 20 years of military service to the United States. He is an Educator in the areas of history and political science. He works as a Consultant in a small business and specializes in strategic planning and technology-based economic development for his clients. He has been involved in competitive shooting for almost 40 years.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001